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Hodgkins disease, known in medical terms as Hodgkins lymphoma, is a form of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system which plays a central role in the body's immune system. This disease was named after the British physician Thomas Hodgkin, who first described this disease in 1832 and its characteristics that distinguish it from other types of cancer. Because it occurs in the lymphatic system, the disease dramatically decreases the bodys ability to fight against infections.
The spleen is a complex organ located in the left side of the upper abdomen near the stomach that produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores cells and destroys old blood cells. Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue located in the middle of large bones and produces new red and white cells including lymphocytes. Tonsils are two small masses of lymph tissue located in the back area of the throat that produce lymphocytes. The thymus is a small organ in the chest behind the breastbone and produces a special type of lymphocytes called T cells.
Because the lymphatic system is spread in many parts of the body, Hodgkins disease can start almost anywhere, but often occurs in the lymph nodes located in the upper part of the body, like in the chest, neck or underarms area. When Hodgkins disease occurs., lymphatic tissues start to enlarge, putting pressure on neighboring organs or tissues and normally spread out through the lymphatic vessels to other nearby lymph nodes. It is not common for the Hodgkins disease to be carried by blood vessels and spread to other areas of the body.
Because lymph nodes can inflame for numerous other reasons, (when the body fights against an infection), a complex examination by a doctor is necessary where medical procedures and tests are conducted in order to establish a cancer diagnosis. When Hodgkins disease occurs, new type of cells called Reed-Sternberg cells are produced. These cells look different from other type of cancers cells and scientists now consider these Reed-Sternberg cells a type of malignant B lymphocytes or abnormal B cells.
Normally, the lymphatic system produces normal B cells, (a type of lymph cells that play an important role in the immune systems response to infections or foreign invaders). These B cells become plasma cells and produce antibodies necessary in fighting infection and normally work with T cells which kills foreign invaders directly. When these B cells develop into an abnormal number, they become Reed-Sternberg cells that stop the normal cycle of B cells by not dying and continuing the malignant process of producing abnormal B cells.
Hodgkins lymphoma occurs in both adults and children, but the treatment is different for both age categories. There are two main types of Hodgkins disease:
I. Classical Hodgkins lymphoma: - lymphocytes predominance, which includes:
II. Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkins lymphoma
Article by Alina Morrow, MS
Page Covers: What is Hodgkin's Disease?
Swollen lymph nodes of the Lymphatic System which is an interconnected system of spaces and vessels between body tissues and organs by which lymph circulates throughout the body. Lymph is a thin coagulable fluid (similar to plasma) but containing white blood cells (lymphocytes) and chyle. Hodgkin's disease can start anywhere, but primarily begins in the upper portion of the body near the neck, chest or underarms.
Hodgkin's Disease Pictures from our Medical Image Search Engine.
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